The runaway success of Amazon Echo voice-controlled speakers has put the smart home at the centre of everyday modern life.
A smart home is more than being able to ask Alexa to put your favourite playlist on shuffle. There’s a whole world of Wi-Fi connected gadgets you can add to your home to make everyday life easier.
From thermostats and light bulbs to video doorbells and fridges.
Here are 5 reasons to get involved...
1. Save money on your energy bills this winter
Smart thermostats like Nest are designed to help you save energy. It learns your routines to create a personalised heating programme and even knows to turn down the heating when you go on holiday.
Find out when you’re saving energy by looking out for the Leaf icon on the thermostat’s screen and use your personalised monthly report to build money-saving habits.
According to Nest, UK customers have saved between 8.4% and 16.5% on their heating bills while using the smart thermostat.
2. Make your home more appealing to buyers
Would you rather move into a home that was already future-proofed with the latest technology or one that would soon need updating?
A 2015 Barclays report states that people would pay an extra £3,310 for a new home that comes fully equipped with the latest technology, such as smart heating systems and appliances.
What’s more, smart tech is an important consideration for those trying to get on the ladder. In 2017 Barclays found that around half of people planning to buy in the coming 5 years were interested in smart home tech and smart security.
3. Say goodbye to left-on lights and heating
Ever got to work only to remember you’ve left the bedroom lights on? With smart home tech, worry no more.
Philips Hue smart lightbulbs can be switched on and off using an app on your phone – even if you’re in the office. And if security is a concern, you can set schedules for the lights to come on automatically in the evening.
The Nest Learning Thermostat turns off the heating automatically when you leave the house. You can change your heating settings remotely using the Nest app, so you can live more spontaneously while always returning to a warm house.
Increasingly, smart home tech is designed to work together. Link your Philips Hue lighting to your Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Indoor Cam and you can set your lighting to come on or off as you enter or leave a room. Goodbye light switches!
4. It can make cooking and shopping easier
If there’s one room in the house where you need a helping hand, it’s the kitchen. Thanks to the latest smart fridges and increasingly clever Amazon Alexa Skills, smart kitchen tech is on the rise.
Tap twice on the Instaview door on the LG GSX960NSAZ Smart Fridge Freezer so you can view what’s inside without opening the door and connect to LG’s ThinQ app to adjust your fridge’s settings when you’re out and about.
The Samsung Family Hub Smart Fridge Freezer has an internal camera so you can see inside your fridge even when you’re not at home. Do your shopping direct from the fridge using the inbuilt touchscreen or mirror your TV to watch your favourite cooking programmes while making dinner.
But Alexa doesn’t need a smart fridge to help out in the kitchen. Just ask: ‘Alexa, how do I cook rice?’ or ‘Alexa, what can I make with chicken and mushrooms?’ and your kitchen assistant will have the answer in seconds.
And when things get too much, there’s just one phrase every tired cook needs to know: ‘Alexa, ask Domino’s to place my Easy Order’.
5. Alexa works with everything
Early smart home tech was blighted by the fact it generally only worked with its own corresponding app or ecosystem. If you wanted a range of smart devices, you ended up with lots of different apps.
Things are now much simpler. Almost everything works with Amazon Alexa, so you can control all your smart home systems with your voice.
You can use Alexa to...
- Adjust the heating with Nest Learning Thermostat or Honeywell Lyric
- Control the lights with Philips Hue smart lighting or LIFX Smart Bulbs
- Turn plug sockets on or off with Belkin WeMo Switch
- Stream your favourite playlist from Spotify or hail an Uber
- Get the latest daily steps/calories updates from your Fitbit
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